Immanuel Lutheran Church

 

3000 West Main Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49006

(269) 345-8090

THE
LUTHERAN CHURCH
Missouri Synod

December 2, 2019

While in Hawaii last May I played a bit of a “dirty trick” on one of our Hawai’ian hosts. I used my iPad to show a beautiful photograph of the sun setting over a bay.

“That’s beautiful, where were you— Mauna Kea beach?”

“No,” I answered, “McClain State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!”

Although it may be reasonable, but not intuitive, a sunset over the water looks pretty much identical whether it’s the Pacific Ocean or Lake Superior. Without any distinguishing features but sky and sea a sunset seen from the Keewenau is the same as that of Kona.

The difference is in who is beside you and what is behind you.

On the shore of the Keewenau there is the squeaky soft water soaked garnet sand and white pines with their asymmetrical branches bent away from the harsh cold wind. In Hawai’i the black coral sand cuts at your feet as the palm trees stand tall with gentle random arcs.

From the campground at McClain the harsh lights of Coleman lanterns come on late at night as the soft conversation...

April 5, 2017

For the many Chronological Bible readers at Immanuel this past month (and a half) has had its many tedious moments. Yet I have always had enough “pearls” to talk about on Monday nights that I find myself running out of time. The irony of the reading is that the majority of the text has been repetitive and tedious and quite frankly boring. But then there are the moments of direct connection to the New Testament and to promises fulfilled in Christ. It has been good to discover the pearls even when our minds are numb and our hands are sore from shucking oysters.

God’s Continuing Instruction

I mentioned that the Book of Deuteronomy (Second Law) is misnamed in a way that betrays a legalistic bias. In Hebrew it is simply, “these are the words…” One should not read it only looking for a second restatement of the Ten Commandments. This does occur (Deuteronomy 5) but it is followed with a much better and more succinct summary of the Instruction of the Lord that is emphasized by Jesus.

“Listen, O I...

October 6, 2016

“The church is always to be Reformed.” (Ecclesia Semper Reformanda)

Reform…

Although this sounds like a quote from Luther or the early Lutheran church, it was actually only written in 1947 by the Swiss Reformed Theologian, Karl Barth. The irony of historical perspective is that the folks making history don’t have time to name themselves or think too much about their place in a future textbook— they are too busy.  (The Impressionist painters spent their energy painting— their detractors named them so as an insult. And “Lutheran” was an insult as well; Luther considered himself both Catholic and evangelical and didn’t have spare time to stop reforming to name himself a reformer.) To finish my point, the Reformers simply acted to correct certain specific abuses of the church within the consensus of theology of the time.

As can be seen, there is nothing here that departs from the Scriptures or the catholic church, or from the Roman church, insofar as we can tell from its writers. Because this...

September 14, 2016

“In a world of technology, people long for personal, human contact.” (John Naisbitt)

My first reading of Megatrends by John Naisbitt gave me a proper name to an idea I was already experiencing and struggling to come to terms with. When I was working in “GM World,” my standard cubicle (in a standard cubicle farm) sat stoically in the center of a floor of (remarkably standard) information technology professionals. My group designed databases. Nearby was the group tasked with implementing and maintaining those databases. Set between us was a small group of Artificial Intelligence specialists. This was as much a collection of technology experts as you could ask for short of a full Research and Development team.  Two experiences supported Naisbitt’s thesis that High Tech people would seek to balance their tech lives with high touch experiences.

The first experience, on its own, seemed normal enough. The younger guys I was working with all wanted to learn how to golf. There were a number of go...

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